NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump cannot block a request to hand over eight years of tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, a federal judge ruled, after Trump claimed he was immune from being sued.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump attends Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo
Trump quickly filed an emergency notice of appeal to the federal appeals court in Manhattan.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan decided to abstain from resolving the dispute, and therefore dismissed Trump’s lawsuit.
He also criticized Trump for advancing what the judge called an argument that the president, his family and businesses “associated with him in potentially unlawful private activities, are in fact above the law.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had subpoenaed personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018 and other records from Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA, in connection with a criminal probe into the president and his family business.
Trump’s lawyers had argued that the president was immune from being subjected to a criminal probe while in office, and that the U.S. Constitution required Vance to wait until after Trump left the White House.
The president has tried to keep many aspects of his finances under wraps, despite having promised during his 2016 White House run that he would disclose his tax returns.
Vance issued the subpoena four weeks after issuing another subpoena to the Trump Organization for records of hush money payments, including to two women prior to the 2016 election who said they had sexual relationships with Trump, which he denies.
Mazars has in the past said it would comply with its legal obligations, and as a matter of policy did not comment on its work for clients.
Trump is running for re-election. His current term ends on Jan. 20, 2021.
The president is separately trying to block Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) from handing over financial records, which the bank has said include tax returns, sought by committees of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Oral arguments in that case were heard by the federal appeals court in Manhattan on Aug. 23. It has yet to rule.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Catherine Evans and Alison Williams